Monday, November 28, 2011

Arrogance Breeding Antipathy

Nugget from last Saturday's WSJ section called Week in Ideas (sub req):

Dislike of atheists is directly tied to a belief that they're untrustworthy, a new study shows.

Researchers gave 105 students at the University of British Columbia a description of a generic ne'er-do-well—for example, he finds a wallet on the street, takes the cash and tosses the wallet.

Participants were asked: Was this man more likely to be a "teacher" or a "teacher and an atheist"? As an alternative to teacher, other groups got "teacher and a Christian," "teacher and a Muslim" or "teacher and a rapist."

Among the students, 48% who got the "teacher and atheist" option chose it, roughly the proportion opting for "teacher and rapist." The figure for "teacher and Muslim" was 15%, for "teacher and Christian" it was 4%.

The PR campaign by those loveable "New Atheists" continues to pay off, doesn't it? Why if this sort of progress continues, it'll only be a few years before people trust them more than rapists.